He is Risen Indeed!

psalm16_8

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

—Psalm 16

This might seem like a strange way to say Halleluiah! on this Easter Sunday. I could have written about how Jesus’ resurrection from the grave paved the way for us to join Him in heaven when we die. Or maybe I should have spoken of the fact that Jesus completely obeyed his Father by taking on the penalty for our sins—not His sins, because He was born sinless and lived a sinless life. Perhaps I should concentrate on how trusting in Jesus for our salvation is the only way to heaven.

Hmm… I guess I just did all of the above!

Do you ever, like I often do, wonder what life will be like in heaven? I doubt that we’ll be forever lounging on clouds and eating bagels with cream cheese [like that old TV commercial], but my mind does conjure images of a place where there are no worries or anxieties, no sickness nor pain…and no death.

Everything and everyone will be focused on worshiping Jesus Christ, our Savior and LORD. We will not want for anything because we will have all we want and need in the LORD.

Wow!

Thoughts of the pleasures we’ll experience in our eternal home should help us see our difficulties in a different way. God completely understands our frustrations and sadness about things in our lives that seem beyond comprehension. The list is long and getting longer every day we live on this earth.

But… rest assured that our God understands all of it and simply asks us to trust Him enough [there’s my word again!] to get us through it. In fact, it is only through Him that we can bear up under any of it.

Psalm 16 above is one of those defined as a Messianic psalm because it is quoted in the New Testament as predicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as God promised through David’s words that Jesus would be resurrected and not “see decay,” so we can be assured that He is by our side, guiding us in our “path of life.”

Beloved, as we struggle with our everyday burdens, let’s not forget that Jesus Christ suffered so much for so many. He shed His own blood to give us the opportunity to live with Him forever, free from the burdensome realities of life here on earth. When we seem to be at the end of our rope, let’s choose to rejoice with Him, that He has made a way for us to live with Him forever.

HeHasRisen

The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon! —Luke 24:34, ESV

Beloved, rejoice!

AnnaSmile

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No Detour From Calvary

The following is from John Piper’s e-devotional book, Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, December 2-25, 2012. Since the road to Calvary began in a lowly stable in Bethlehem, I thought it fitting to share this with you today as we contemplate the way Jesus willingly died for OUR sins. [Photo and text emphasis are mine.]

Calvary

No Detour from Calvary

“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” —Luke 2:6–7

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things—even motel capacities—for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.

And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross” (Matthew 16:24).

We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” (Matthew 8:19). Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

Good News of Great Joy. © 2012 Desiring God, Minneapolis, MN 55402. www.desiringGod.org

AnnaSmile

GOOD Friday?

Eph1-7

Have you ever wondered why the day Jesus Christ died such a horrible death is called GOOD Friday? Doesn’t it seem as if this should be the blackest day in history? What can possibly be GOOD about it?

Beloved, Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be put to death so that we might live with Him for eternity! This is why this day is commemorated as a GOOD day. We are all born as sinners and there is no way we can get to heaven apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ’s death on that cross at Calvary. That one death paid the price for us to have the opportunity to be in heaven when we die.

All you need to do is:

  • ADMIT that you are a sinner (we ALL are!)
  • BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died to pay for our sin penalty
  • CONFESS and repent of your sins and fully acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life.

Yes, we should mourn the death of Jesus Christ because He endured so much on our behalf. But even more, we should celebrate this day as the beginning of mankind’s chance to share in the intimate fellowship with Jesus forever!

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You can read more about how to ask Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of your life on my A…B…C page. Or, if you’d rather, please contact me at annap at annapopescu dot com. I would love to share this Good News with you and walk with you through the A-B-C’s.

AnnaSmile

The Amazing Grand Canyon

Tidbit Tuesday

Since 2004, Rick and I have lived in northern Arizona, about 115 miles away from the Grand Canyon. Of course we’ve visited there several times and taken visiting friends and family there too. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the beauty of this place in case you’ve never been there.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour!

AnnaSmile

God is Always Enough

Earlier this year, I shared with you that God gave me the word enough for 2013. I blogged about it here and here and will continue to do so whenever I read, write or come across something significant about this simple word.

Today I read this piece in Wayne Stiles’ blog, Connecting the Bible and Its Lands to Life and knew I needed to share it here. The emphasis on the word enough (just like this) is mine.

Never Settle for Second Best with God

Their request seemed like commonsense. But it wasn’t.

“Let this land be given to your servants as a possession,” the people of Reuben and Gad said to Moses, “do not take us across the Jordan” (Numbers 32:5).

Never Settle for Second Best with God Never Settle for Second Best with God

(Photo: Land of Gilead, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad had huge herds, and the land of Gilead and Jazer had lush pastures.

So they settled east of the Jordan River instead of crossing over into what God had promised.

Bad idea.

Their choice shows us why we should never settle for second best with God.

When God’s Best isn’t Good Enough

Rather than wait on the Lord and receive the best of what He had planned for them on the west side of the Jordan River, they settled for what they saw in front of them.

History bears the constant struggle these tribes would endure because they chose this land.

God’s best for us seldom comes immediately. But it’s always worth the wait. (Tweet that.)

How often have we run ahead of the Lord instead of waiting for His best?

  • A lonely believer marries an unbeliever.
  • An eager couple makes a poor financial decision.
  • A family joins a church for its location in spite of its doctrine.

Many people fail to see God work in their lives because they fail to wait on Him to supply.

Let us then look on what we have and give God thanks for it, and know that if we should have more, He would give more. —Richard Greenham

Why We Should Never Settle for Second Best with God

The Scriptures reveal the Lord can provide anything, anywhere, and at any moment:

God’s promise to provide frees us to concern ourselves only with obedience to Him. Never settle for second best with God.

What God wants to give us is always far better than what we want Him to give us. (Tweet that.)

We should never settle for second best because we only see today. God sees the implications for eternity.

The grass will always seem greener east of the Jordan.

But can God also not richly bless within His will?

Question: How have you experienced that waiting for God’s best pays off? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Beloved, have you ever ran ahead of God, thinking that your way was better than His? I have definitely been in that position at various times in my life and have finally learned [I hope!] to wait on God’s timing, trusting that He always knows what is best for me.

I pray you are as blessed by this as I was and I wish you enough.

AnnaSmile